St. Barnabas 2-8
Center forward Dave Purcell was on the end of a great Barnabas move started by Eddie Greenan. Greenan fed Tom Nolan and the midfielder’s long pass hit Purcell in stride and soon the net was shaking from Purcell’s finish. Sean Mulcahy added two frees and when Mulcahy’s shot caromed off an Armagh defender across the goal line, a long day for Armagh seemed to be in the offing.
Barnabas, beaten in the Junior A final last season, added Purcell and Mulcahy to an already fine team and it looked in the early stages that 2003 was off to a good start. But Armagh kept their poise. Collie Fearon played a leader’s role from his midfield position and he had an able partner in young Pat McGuire, whose fielding and passing offset some sloppy shooting.
Points from James Trainor, Fearon, and Armagh’s talented center forward, Niall Farrelly, got Armagh back on track as the half wound down. At the break only that fortunate goal kept St. Barnabas in front 2-5 to 0-8.
The second half was all Armagh as Barnabas struggled just to stay in touch. Barnabas actually opened the scoring when Sean Carbin set up Mulcahy to extend their lead to 0-4. Then Armagh took control. Points from Noel McPartland and Gary McGurk halved the deficit before James Trainor obliterated it. First Trainor rifled home Armagh’s first goal to put Armagh in front. Seconds later, Trainor pulled on a loose ball and the umpire’s green flag was waving for Armagh again.
Suddenly, Armagh had a 0-4 lead to protect and they proved up to the task. Armagh had built their comeback on strong performances all over the field. St. Barnabas’ attack had been shut down with fullback Lee Kelly leading the way. Wingbacks Louie Breslin and Barry Teal were very effective. Noel McPartland also raised his game but full forward Tony McCaul may have had the biggest impact on the match.
The lanky full forward began wandering far from his home on the edge of the square, causing Pat Lyons to chase and leaving huge gaps in the center of the Barnabas defense that Armagh exploited. Barnabas never reacted to Armagh’s strategy, telling Lyons to stay back, but doing nothing to counter the wide open McCaul, who after winning possession, launched countless Armagh attacks.
Barnabas continued to battle, but once Armagh saw the finish line, they would not be denied.
Man of the Match: James Trainor.
Armagh: Gerard Stanley, Peter McKeown, Lee Kelly, Marty Boyle, Barry Toal, Paul McGuinness, Louie Breslin, Collie Fearon (0-1), Pat McGuire (0-2, 2 frees), Eamon McPartland, Niall Farrelly (0-3), Noel McPartland (0-4, 1 free), Owen McPartland, Tony McCaul, James Trainor (2-2). Subs: Gary McGurk (0-1), Ronan Hughes.
St. Barnabas: Joe Doherty, Pat Flynn, Pat Lyons, Tony Nolan, Gary Birdy, Eddie Greenan, Noel Normoyle, Tom Nolan (0-1), Dave Garvey, Ciaran Moyles, Dave Purcell (1-0), Terrance Flynn, Sean Mulcahy (1-6, 4 frees), Darren Meany, Sean Carbin (0-1). Subs: JP Kirwin, Tom Kelly, Mark Cosgrove, Brendan O’Sullivan, David Hughes.